CHE-YEN CHEN, viola.
Taiwanese-American violist Che-Yen Chen is a founding member of the Formosa Quartet, the First Prize winner of the 2006 London International String Quartet Competition. He was awarded First Prize in the 2003 Primrose International Viola Competition, and has been described by the San Diego Union Tribune as an artist whose "most impressive aspect of his playing was his ability to find not just the subtle emotion, but the humanity hidden in the music." Having served as the principal violist of the San Diego Symphony for eight seasons, and having appeared as principal violist with numerous major orchestras in North America, he now devotes his time to the Formosa Quartet and teaching, recitals, and other chamber music projects. The quartet’s many commissions have contributed to the 21st century’s string quartet literature. In 2016, the ensemble premiered Lei Liang's Song Recollections; based on music indigenous to aboriginal tribes of Taiwan, the piece is the result of a two-year commissioning project that looks ahead to a new disc of music inspired by Hungarian and Taiwanese folk traditions. Other commissions include Shih-Hui Chen’s Returning Souls: Four Pieces on Three Formosan Amis Legends and Fantasia on the Theme of Plum Blossom, Dana Wilson's Hungarian Folk Songs, and Wei-Chieh Lin's Pasibutbut. A former member of CMS Two, Mr. Chen is currently on the faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music, and has given master classes in major conservatories and universities across North America and Asia.